Tips on Quitting Smoking for GoodJan. 7, 2020
If you smoke, chances are you’ve lost count of the number of times someone has told you that smoking is bad for your health. And you may know firsthand that quitting smoking isn’t easy.
“Whether it’s your first, second or third time, the first step is deciding to quit. Then take time to focus on why you want to quit. Even better, write it down and be specific,” says Dr. Shawn Tittle, thoracic surgeon at Houston Methodist Cancer Center.
Here are four good reasons to quit:
- Improving your health, being able to breathe better and reducing your risk of developing long-term health conditions such as lung disease, heart disease, cancer and more
- Reducing the amount of secondhand smoke, nicotine and chemical residue your family, friends and pets are exposed to
- Saving money and using your savings for something valuable, like a trip or a down payment on a car
- Saying goodbye to smelly clothes, breath, car, home and life
Once you've decided to quit, consider these tips.
Talk to your doctor
“Your doctor can help you figure out which strategies you can use to quit for life,” Dr. Tittle says. “Be honest about why you smoke, what triggers you to light up and what challenges you anticipate while quitting."
With this information, your doctor can help you understand the different tools and therapies available, as well as the pros and cons of each.
Smoking cessation options include:
- Nicotine patches. The patches adhere to your skin to deliver regular doses of nicotine into your system.
- Nicotine gum and lozenges. These offer a short-term nicotine “fix” and can be taken when the craving strikes.
- Nicotine inhalers. You puff on the inhaler and a nicotine vapor is released into your mouth and throat for another short-term craving buster.
- Prescription medications. Certain drugs help reduce nicotine cravings in some patients, but may come with side effects.
- Cold turkey. This strategy works well for those who prefer to tough it out, head on.
Based on your goals and personal health history, your doctor may recommend one therapy over another or a combination of therapies.
Find support if you need it
Smoking cessation programs can help you stop smoking and reduce your risk of developing long-term health conditions. Houston Methodist's program offers:
- Counseling sessions and guidance for exercise, nutrition and stress management strategies
- A fitness assessment and consultation
- A session with a registered dietitian
- Progress monitoring with a specialist, who helps you set a quit date and develop a cessation plan
- Learn more about Houston Methodist's smoking and tobacco cessation services